24 January 2010

Weekend Randomness #3 - Hunger

Sorry I didn't blog a random fact last weekend, but a certain toddler I know keeps deciding a nice hospital stay would be pleasant for the whole family.


As many of you know, I love food. I like to make sweets, I like the food that Paul makes me, and Nathan and I would probably run you down with his stroller for some Matter Paneer from our local Indian restaurant.

Due to these factors, and due to the fact that Paul spends a good portion of his time at home making sure that Nathan and I won't starve due to my ineptitude with savory cooking, I am rarely ever hungry. Lately, however, after looking closely at my weight on the scale, and considering some upcoming events, I decided to think about losing some weight by not eating so damned much. This has made me feel hunger for the first time in months.

Here's the weird part. I like being hungry. I find it satisfying in its own way. Paul gets super grumpy and non-talkative while he's hungry, and when I first found this out, I was stunned. I had previously assumed everyone else liked being hungry too.

Do you like being hungry too, or are you like Paul? All grump and headaches and anger?

16 January 2010

Weekend Randomness #2 -- Sleighs

I have a dream. One day, I want to ride in a sleigh. That's right, a horse-driven sleigh cutting through the snow. My sleigh's horses can possibly have bobbed tails, but none of the horses riding it would be named Bobtail.

image from pmarkham

I've had this dream for years, and I've come close. I've been to hotels, in the middle of winter, that offer sleigh rides, but never at the same time as actual snow. However, I am beginning to believe my dream will never come true. I mean, it's not just the sleigh and the horse(s). I also have a muff in my dream. And possibly a wool peacoat.

My dream has grown over the years too! Now, it includes an adorably dressed Nathan sitting near me and Paul on the other side of him. And when we get done with our sleigh ride, we'll go in for hot cocoa and read books.

I've clearly built this winter fantasy up in my head. I hope that if I achieve it, it will be everything that I hope.

12 January 2010

Podcast Review: Stitch It

Oh man, folks. Oh man! It's been so so long since I last reviewed a podcast, and I'm sorry about that. I'm putting it out there, though, that I think I've found a new favorite. Meghan, over at Stitch It!, gives good podcast.

Normally, I don't care for super rambling podcasts in which everything from knitting to gardening to home life is discussed, but that could not be further from the truth with Meghan. Folks? She makes me want to garden. I mean, after listening to her summer backlog of episodes, I got all jazzed about the idea of gardening. In the dirt. With bugs. If you know me at all, you know that I've basically described a miracle.

She has a section for fiber, a section for 'townhomesteading', a section for babbling, a favorite thing, and several other sections, but I have to say that I like her babbling and townhomesteading stuff the best. This woman is the crazy person who considers keeping bees in her townhouse's yard, and I love it! Her stories of her son (a just turned three year old in the podcasts I'm listening to) are so entertaining that I tell my husband about them.

If you are at all interested in things like spinning or leading a more 'homesteading' lifestyle, this is the podcast for you. In fact, if you're not interested in that stuff, it still might be for you. Meghan's highly entertaining.

This is for you, Meghan. Your podcast is my new favorite thing!

09 January 2010

Weekend Randomness #1 - Wrapping Paper

Here's one of my new blogging categories -- random facts about me! Let's see how this goes. I'm considering trying Wordless Wednesday as well in the future, but I haven't committed fully to it being for this particular blog. I think Nathan and the house might be a better subject of wordlessness.

I am obsessed with wrapping paper and items related to wrapping presents. I love ribbon, gift tags, stickers, and even special tape dispensing tools. You can possibly tell where you stand with me by what wrapping paper I use for your gifts.

I have a system in which paper I do not like gets used for people I like less. For instance, while Nathan might get the last yard of my favorite, and still amusingly tacky, kittens sleeping in Christmas stockings; a random gift for Paul's office parties might get ugly dull paper that was clearly part of a boxed set of papers that someone (Paul or my mom) bought for me.

Wrapping Paper

At odds with this system is also the fact that I love to use up wrapping paper and related goods, so that while I love Nathan, he might also get ugly dull blue paper if I have only a snippet left, and he has a tiny gift left. Additionally, for huge gifts, I tend to use up a paper I don't really care for no matter my feelings for a person.

Every year, I finish up about three different Christmas paper rolls. This would be great if I didn't also buy a few rolls, and Paul always buys several rolls himself which are later given to me. If I were smart, I'd throw out some unloved wrapping paper, but I can never make myself do this. In fact, my mom depressed me hugely this year by whipping out five rolls of hideous paper that I remember her purchasing when I was in high school. Knowing my love of wrapping paper, she'd often purchase large boxed collections of them, only for me to like a single paper (if any) out of a box. Now I have five more ugly rolls of paper to use at her house, and she never has any gifts to give to anyone because she hates to give gifts to people. When she does give them gifts, she doesn't wrap the present.

Many a year I've given serious thought to paring down to two or three rolls of paper for a beautifully coordinated grouping of gifts under the tree, but I've never actually done this. I have, however, started to get really into how my presents are wrapped. (Thank you, design blogs!) I try to take care to wrap my presents using string and ribbons rather than just slapping a bow on top of them, though I do like a good bow when the situation calls for it.

I got several GREAT papers this year which are left unopened, including one which looks like fair isle knitting.

Wrapping Paper

These papers will be moved to the "gifts that Santa has wrapped" pile of secret papers next year. My plan is to have Santa introduce a new paper or two ever year, starting with three I've chosen to start with next year.

By the way, if I know you in real life, this post is also an offer. I will wrap ANY presents for you should you need present wrapping done. I have birthday paper, Christmas paper, wedding paper, baby shower paper, and random awesome papers. I am also, clearly, willing to buy paper for an occasion. Just come over with said item(s) and I will wrap.

07 January 2010

A Christmas Stocking

Growing up, I had no idea what sewing entailed besides that somehow it must require that giant desk/sewing machine that every woman I know had, but which was never in use. When my cousins moved over from California, I quickly found out that my clothes horse cousin was wearing a lot of handmade goods. Her mother would whip together things like fully lined cropped wool jackets for her that were just gorgeous. Occasionally, I'd receive a hand me down from my cousin (like said jacket), but I almost disbelieved that a human I knew could make polished clothing for real.

When my mom's family had their big New Year's Day celebration, my aunt was there with a nice gift for Nathan -- a handmade stocking.

Nathan's Christmas Stocking

There were other gifts too, but I knew I had to share this with you. The buttons are all sewn shank, and there are letter stickers placed over them.

Nathan's Christmas Stocking

My aunt even used a contrasting colored thread on the tie that holds the stocking to the mantle.

Nathan's Christmas Stocking

I sort of wonder if she ran out of the green thread that she used with the main print. If I had, I might have used red thread for the tie. I'll chalk it up to a bit of artistic flair, but if it was just a refusal to run to the craft store for thread at the last minute, I would totally understand.

This was a neat gift to receive after spending a year reading about sewing and attempting to finish projects. I'll make sure Nathan appreciates it one day! It'll also save him from my somewhat lame attempts to glue glitter onto a cheap-o stocking. I'm sparing you all from pictures of my sad stocking with the word 'Jenny' falling off of it.

04 January 2010

Where I Am Going

So, I told you all that I would post more, and here's how I think I'm going to do it. I'm not sure if this will be interesting to my three readers, but some of my plans include:

1. Jacking Bookwormbethie's "Keeping it Weird on Wednesday" idea, but changing it slightly. Bethie has a terribly great idea of posting a random odd factoid about herself once a week. I think this helps readers to get to know her while giving her something to post about once a week. So far I'm undecided about which day to post, but since I think this is something that isn't essential to a crafting blog, I'll use up a quiet reading day (Friday-Sunday) to do this.

2. Starting my book review blog. I'm reading a lot more nowadays thanks to my library's internet reservation plan. I like to write. Now, I just need to write about the books I read. This will also allow me to catalog books I like a lot, help me to think about a book critically, and prevent me from forgetting a book's plot in three seconds.

3. Guest blog for anyone that offers. I love to guest blog. Being given a topic often helps me to write.

4. Edit more. That means writing a post beforehand, and going back to rewrite. I have not been doing any editing for my blogs and it shows. I do it for Helen's blog and my writing is more polished and funnier.

5. Continue with my love of photography, but try to post my pictures faster so I can use them more quickly in blog posts. Also, improve my inanimate object photos.

6. Possibly create a Twitter account for my craft blog and for my book blog. Watching Helen's success with tweeting for her blog is inspiring.

7. Have one giveaway this year, at least! I really love to see giveaways on other blogs because I feel it helps people find you. It also helps you to see who has been reading but not commenting.

8. Jot down post ideas in one of my numerous text files, so that when I do want to write I'm not left floundering.

9. Bake more. This will not only make me a better and more interesting blogger, but I've found, surprisingly, that I enjoy making desserts.

10. A once a month, at least, roundup of links to articles/posts/finished items that I like. I find so much that I like, but never highlight these things.

Last, but not least, have Nathan help me blog.

Time To Play

02 January 2010

Holidays and A New Year

Well, I know I said I'd be back soon, but the holidays, taking care of Nathan by myself on weekdays, and the lack of crafting made me a liar. December was a busy month. Besides general extreme illness, there was my favorite holiday!

My creation

I love Christmas to bits, and I love Christmas with Nathan and Paul even more, but I'll save that post for my family blog, and talk about my crafting/blog resolutions from last year.

1. I will make more cupcakes.

LIES CREAM! I didn't make more cupcakes at all. However, I consider myself forgiven because though I didn't bake much, I did bake more, and I posted some of my baking stuff on Helen's food blog! And Helen's blog, unlike this one, is totally real.

2. I'd like to make some holiday pillowcases using my sewing skills. ANY HOLIDAY will work at this point, and I'm counting birthdays as a holiday. These pillowcases would be for my bed pillows.

FAILURE AGAIN! I'm not doing so well so far, am I? I wish I had done this, but I didn't pull out my sewing machine enough.

3. I'd like to make Paula (and myself) some Halloween table napkins, much like my Thanksgiving napkins. In fact, I'd just like to make some more table napkins since I feel fancy when I use them, and they're now out of season.

I made myself more napkins at least, but then I ended up not liking them because I did a slip-shod job. Does it count if you're disappointed? I'm tending to think not.

4. Knit with Malabrigo yarn.

Success! I used some Silky Merino so I count this as a win.

5. Use up some of my stash.

Screw this resolution. It didn't make me happy. I got more stash, if anything, but I'm still not stash heavy.

6. Knit several pairs of socks, but try Shaeffer Anne, Dream in Color Smooshy, and Duet Sock Yarn for some of those socks.

I knit several pairs of socks, but the only one of these yarns I managed to knit with was Schaefer Anne.

7. Sew a skirt.

Damn, success! I did this! I even wore it out.

8. Learn the skills to make my favorite dress pattern ever. I don't need to make the dress this year, but I need to get more skills.

I didn't get all the skillz probably, but I did learn more about sewing. I count this as a partial success.

9. Blog at least once a week.

Well, I started out really well, but then I started to flag because I wasn't doing enough. I really need to finish this damnable Slytherin scarf. I will say that when you count in my personal family blog and Helen's food blog, I came much closer to my goal.

10. Knit a sweater.

I bought the yarn to knit a sweater. That doesn't count, does it?

11. Lose some damned weight. (Only crafting related because it means I can buy less yarn/fabric to make clothing items!)

Extra failure. Let's not discuss it.

So, my 2010 resolutions? Let's get to 'em. I know some people (in my personal life) are all "I don't do them" but I do, so that's that.

1. Sew more.

This is a simple one, but one that I'd really like to try to work on. I just don't knit or sew enough nowadays. I'm on this computer too much.

2. Try blogging on any blog I write for twice a week.

This includes my non-existent except in .txt format on my desktop book blog. I just want to write for people besides myself more.

3. Knit a pair of socks for Paul's grandmom.

She's in her nineties and her feet get cold because she has bad circulation.

4. Exercise more.

Forget losing weight, I just want to feel more together. I've added several workout DVDs to my Netflix queue. I also want to give yoga a real try.

5. Think about what I read more.

I tend to read a lot, but then I let it fall out of my mind easily because it is mostly junk. I am getting a Nook (WHEE!) and I need to read at least a few books which are quality.

6. Sew an Oliver and S garment for someone.

I just love the look of their patterns.

7. Learn to make macarons.

I know this one will bring me heartache.

8. Get off the computer to make more time for Paul, reading, and crafting.

This one is going to kill me. I really do love the computer.

9. Finish the Slytherin scarf.

Seriously. Make it my Olympic knitting, if need be.

10. Knit a sweater and holiday pillowcases.

My two undone resolutions from last year that I'd like to give a serious try.

Some of my plans for blog posting will come about next blog post. See you all then.